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Call for Crime Stoppers Programme in SVG

Call for Crime Stoppers Programme in SVG


In recent times, some persons here have expressed their dissatisfaction with the manner in which police treat confidential information given to them in relation to serious crimes.{{more}}

Assistant Commissioner of Police Eckron Lockhart is of the view that in order to win back the confidence of the public, a Crime Stoppers Programme should be set up here to deal with such information.

Lockhart was speaking at a media briefing at the Police Conference Room on last week. He stated that persons have not been happy or do not feel safe to pass on certain information to the police out of fear for their lives. “It is an area we have been working on. We must ensure that we treat information in the strictest of confidence,” he stated.

The Crime Stoppers Programme is an international programme that has helped to solve some heinous crimes throughout the world. This crime-fighting initiative allows persons to provide information to the police without ever being identified.

According to Lockhart, a Crime Stoppers toll free line is usually staffed by trained personnel who answer the phone and receive, process and pass on tips and other information to the appropriate agency to investigate. Callers are given a code number, which is used in all subsequent calls. Lockhart said the caller is never asked to identify him or herself or provide any personal information. If the information provided proves useful, that caller can call back for updates and instructions on how to claim a reward, which Lockhart said can run upwards of $2,000.

Crime Stoppers was started by Canadian Greg MacAleese, a Detective with the Albuquerque Police Department in New Mexico, USA, in 1976. MacAleese had run out of leads in a homicide investigation in which a young gas station attendant was murdered to eliminate him as a witness. To help find possible witnesses to this crime, he produced the first crime re-enactment, which was aired on local television, and made available for radio and print media. Within hours of the broadcast, an individual called in valuable information that resulted in the arrest and conviction of two suspects who were sentenced to life in prison with no chance of parole.

In an interview with SEARCHLIGHT, Lockhart noted that the success of the programme would heavily depend on the involvement of local service sectors since the police would not be the ones to run the programme. “In order for this to work, we have to involve everyone in the country, including Government funding and the help of some of these service organisations like the LEO club, among others,” Lockhart added.

An optimistic Lockhart said: “It would be extremely successful in the fight against crime here in St Vincent because people are just generally afraid to give information.”

The veteran law officer said that it is a pity that St Vincent and the Grenadines does not already have the programme set up since they would have been able to bring closure to some of the unsolved murders. “If this programme was implemented ages ago, we would have seen fewer crimes being committed and more being solved,” he stated. (KW)